The Justice League are caught in cosmic crossfire between two of the most powerful entities in all of creation. And at the darkest of moments, things get even worse.
Written by Geoff Johns
Illustrated by Jason Fabok
The epic “Darkseid War” event storyline continues with the critically acclaimed team of Geoff Johns and Jason Fabok! As Darkseid and the Anti-Monitor maneuver toward inevitable war, Wonder Woman leads the Justice League against a force that holds the answers on how to stop it—but the price might be Batman’s soul! Meanwhile, Mister Miracle faces off against a mysterious hero who has been fighting in the shadows for decades!
Warning: There are some minor spoilers involved with this issue.
Ever since the conclusion to “Forever Evil”, it feels like we are finally getting into the “Justice League” book that Geoff Johns wanted to write. The quality has been on a massive incline upwards, as opposed to the spotty quality prior. And as the war between the God of Evil and the Anti-God begins, this is what “Justice League” should feel like.
A major part of this goes to the art team of Jason Fabok and colorist Brad Anderson. They are an absolute godsend (shut up) on this book. One particular scene is towards the beginning of the issue that takes place on Apokolips. This world has not looked this hellish or demonic in a long time. Fabok adds malevolence into every bit of architecture and the twisted forms of New Gods such as Dessad and Steppenwolf. (although, as someone who read “Earth 2”, have to question: how is Steppenwolf… you know… alive?)
But it pales in comparison to how Fabok and Anderson have depicted almighty Darkseid. To put it bluntly, I was not a fan of Jim Lee’s redesign of the dark god at the beginning of the New 52 and there weren’t really any artists that had sweetened me on the redesign. However, this art team has made the design resonate greatly with me and I think it has a great deal to do with their use of not only lighting but of silhouette. Darkseid needs to cast an imposing shadow and the use of sinister coloring to depict the hellish landscape that lets us see Darkseid creates the shadow of a creature of evil that makes one go “Darkseid Is”. Perhaps Johns is feeding off this artwork because he has been crafting some of the best Darkseid dialogue since “Final Crisis”.
It isn’t just Darkseid that is finally getting well-deserved character work in this issue. I have been critical of Geoff Johns’ work on Wonder Woman before, but I have to say, over the last year he really has turned it around and is crafting the best Wonder Woman in the DC Universe right now. She has effectively taken center stage of this arc as being the narrator of events and we definitely see a Wonder Woman that many enjoy. One particular line of dialogue I enjoyed was when she and the remaining members of the League prepare an offensive against the Anti-Monitor and Grail:
”If there’s a way to prevent war, I find it. But this one’s already started.”
That is such a Wonder Woman thing to say. It shows that first and foremost that she’s a guardian of peace, but won’t hesitate when peace falls through. Once again have to give credit to Fabok/Anderson for their depiction of Diana. She’s never depicted as cheesecakey or in any stupid poses, but as a… you know… a warrior with a warrior’s build. I know it feels like I shouldn’t have to mention this, but considering the massive problems with depicting women that the mainstream comics industry has, it’s nice to see when it doesn’t happen.
Now, this book wasn’t perfect to me. I think one particular weakness it has is one synonymous with “Event Books”, which “Justice League” is trying to be like each month, according to Geoff Johns, that some smaller plot points feel contrived because it needs to be at a specific point. I’m talking about the scene between Mister Miracle and Myrina Black. While it does a fine job on delivering some exposition as to why this War is happening and I can somewhat see to Myrina’s motivations, the twist near the end of the scene felt a bit contrived. I will admit, this twist is nowhere near as contrived and undeserved as I found a twist in last month’s issue involving the person behind the attempts on Lex Luthor’s life.Continued below
Now, on to the last thing that happens in this issue, which has been spoiled by upcoming covers and the recently announced “Justice League: Gods and Men” one-shots that will spin out of Darkseid War: Batman on the Mobius Chair. While I do applaud Johns taking a meta look at the, in my opinion, annoying fan interpretation of “Bat God”, I question the after effects of this. Of all the knowledge that Batman acquires sitting on the chair includes not only who killed his parents (which I thought he knew already. Comics, everyone!) and the true name of the Joker and apparently it’s someone that’s “not possible”.
What concerns me about this is when the Darkseid War is over; I am hoping this isn’t an immediate reset to this. This may be the cynicism talking: But I can’t see the ramifications of such a reveal to last long until a mind wipe or something happens. Don’t get me wrong, I would love for these characters to be fundamentally altered by the events that happen, but I’ve seen too much about the Big 2 to know that won’t happen. So I fear with that sentence, this story may end up undoing itself for me as we continue on.
Final Verdict: 8.5- My reservations aside, it is great to finally have a “Justice League” book that we deserve.